Biofumigation in combination with solarization can provide a more successful and sustainable solution for improving soil quality and enhancing natural soil-borne disease control in field grown production systems of woody ornamentals, specifically at the propagation stage. Despite the advantages of these sustainable techniques, grower adoption of these types of management strategies are low due to concerns about efficacy, economic cost, and compatibility with their production practices. These issues need to be resolved through on-farm research and demonstrated under commercial production conditions to make biofumigation in combination with solarization part of an accepted, sustainable field-grown nursery production system for growers in the South.
Based on the results of a previous SSARE-funded grant (GS16-155), cover crops like white mustard, purple top forage turnips, astro arugula, mighty mustard, dwarf essex rape, amara mustard and oriental mustard may have potential for use in biofumigation against soil-borne pathogens of woody ornamental plants. Work is needed to examine these cover crops in a field production environment that offers potential fungicide-like properties while still providing benefits such as increased soil fertility.
Project objectives from proposal:
Our objectives are:
- Assess environmentally friendly biofumigants in combination with solarization for soil-borne diseases and improved plant growth;
- Examine economic benefits and obstacles of using biofumigants in combination with solarization;
- Engage in outreach and technology transfer with field nursery growers.